Written By

Natalie Zemaitis


Publish Date

11 November 2022

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Pharmacy student wins Rural Practice Award

Fourth-year Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) student Alannah Franich has been recognized for her passion and work in improving the health disparities of regional rural and remote communities.

After receiving the highest overall achievement for a rural placement, Alannah was awarded the 2022 Alive Pharmacy Rural Practice Award at this year’s JCU Pharmacy Awards night.

“I feel so humbled and happy to be acknowledged for my commitment to providing healthcare to rural and remote communities,” Alannah said.

Growing up in the Far North Queensland town of Tully gave Alannah an insight into some of the issues of accessing healthcare in a rural setting.

“I have had first-hand experience with how difficult it can be to access healthcare, especially in a timely manner. I remember as kids, Mum took us into our local pharmacy to get advice on what she should do. I suppose I began to develop a great appreciation of the services and education a pharmacist provides.”

JCU’s reputation for producing highly sought-after, work-ready graduates with an emphasis on regional, rural, remote, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health meant that it was the most appealing option for Alannah.

“Knowing that JCU is focused on and committed to addressing the shortage of health professionals in regional, rural, and remote Australia made the decision to study Pharmacy at JCU easy. It couldn’t have been a more perfect fit!”

Young woman with a camel behind her.
Young woman at lake.
Alannah Franich had several adventures during her time in Mount Isa. (Supplied by Alannah Franich.)

Learning on rural placement

“My fourth-year Atherton placement was my favourite,” Alannah says.

“It was so much busier compared to what I was used to. It was fast paced with such a diverse range of patients, there was so much to learn and see. There were multiple pharmacists on at any one time and lots of staff who all taught me something. I was able to take away lots of advice and tips to use in the future. Overall, it was an amazing experience."

“The most important skill I was able to practise was counselling patients. A lot of people have the misconception that a pharmacist’s role is purely a supply function. Counselling is such an important aspect of our job; building patient rapport and ensuring the patient understands what is happening with their health, and why they are taking the medication is integral in achieving medication compliance.

“The most important skill I was able to practise was counselling patients. A lot of people have the misconception that a pharmacist's role is a supply function.”

JCU Pharmacy Student Alannah Franich

Two young women smiling.
Family picture from awards night.
Alannah with fellow student Sophie in Mt Isa and with her family at the JCU Pharmacy Awards night. (Supplied by Alannah Franich.)

Home for her internship

Alannah plans to return to Tully to complete her internship next year at her local LiveLife Pharmacy where she has worked over the past three years.

“Honestly, I can’t think of a better place to be completing my internship than back home in the town that has nurtured and supported me throughout my life,” she said.

“I love community pharmacy and the opportunities it creates to not only help improve the health of patients but also form strong patient-pharmacist relationships.

“I intend to continue working rurally in community pharmacy and as my knowledge grows, I hope to complete an additional course to become a diabetes educator. Having specialised knowledge of common conditions affecting the local community will allow me to fulfill my role to the best of my ability. I want to continue learning and bettering myself so that I can have a positive impact on the health of rural populations,” Alannah says.

Pharmacy is an in-demand career that can take you anywhere. Read more about Melissa Gibson’s ‘Gold Lotto’ job and follow the adventures of 2021 graduate from Western Australia Patrick Wright and Torres Strait pharmacist Caitlin Davies.

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